What to Pack to Take to the Hospital


For the mother's use during labor, For the birth partner's use, For the mother's use during the postpartum period, and For the baby.

For the mother's use during labor:

  • Basket of food for the nursing staff
  • Cornstarch or unscented oil for massage
  • Lip balm
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Gown and robe (if she prefers them to hospital clothes)
  • Shower cap
  • Rolling pin, camper's ice, or cold soft-drink can - for pressure and cold on lower back
  • Warm socks and slippers
  • Hair ties or "scrunchies"
  • Tapes or CDs of favorite relaxing music, and tape or CD player
  • Personal focal point (a picture, flowers, a candle, a figurine) to focus on during contractions
  • Favorite juice, popsicles, electrolyte-balanced beverage (such as Gatorade), or Rite-Aid Pediatric Electrolyte pops (this brand does NOT have aspartame, like Pedialyte Pops) in a cooler
  • Fan (small, hand-held, battery operated is best)
  • Birth Ball
  • Pillows from home (use brightly colored cases to distinguish from your birth place's linens)

For the birth partner's use:

  • Copy of the Birth Plan
  • Watch with second hand
  • Grooming supplies (toothbrush, breath freshener, deodorant, shaver)
  • Food for snacks, such as sandwiches, fruit, cheese and crackers, beverages (consider beforehand what they will do to your breath)
  • Sweater
  • Change of clothes
  • Swimsuit so you can accompany the mother in the shower
  • Paper and pencil
  • Reading materials, or handwork for slow times when the mother does not need your help
  • Phone numbers of people to call during or after labor
  • Change or credit card for pay phone
  • Camera with film (400 ASA or higher) and batteries (still or video)
  • Extra film (400 ASA or higher) or videotape
  • Baby book for getting the footprints done by the nurse when she does the paperwork

For the mother's use during the postpartum period: (note:  this should be packed separately and brought into the hospital when mom moves to her postpartum room -- this does not belong in the labor room)

  • Gowns that open in front for breastfeeding, (unless she prefers hospital gowns)
  • Robe and slippers
  • Cosmetics, toilet articles
  • Witch Hazel and small (not newborn) baby diapers to be packed with ice for perineal care (note: the ice should be inserted by separating the plastic outer liner from the padding and then folding over the edge of the opened plastic outer liner to keep the ice in the pack -- pour Witch Hazel on the pad)
  • Tasty snack foods, such as fruit, nuts, cheese and crackers - her favorite treats
  • Nursing bras
  • Reading and writing materials, address book, birth announcements
  • Money for incidentals
  • Going-home clothing (you will still be about 5-6 months pregnant-looking)
  • Waterproof pads for the car ride

For the baby: (note:  this should be packed separately and brought into the hospital when mom moves to her postpartum room -- this does not belong in the labor room)

  • Car seat (this should be correctly installed in the car prior to the due date)
  • Receiving blanket for baby
  • Outside blanket, bunting, booties and cap for baby
  • Going home outfit (nightgown or stretch suit)
  • Undershirt
  • Diapers


About the Author:

Tracy Hartley is a Certified Birth Doula, member of the Board of Directors of DASC (Doulas Association of Southern California), and business owner of "B*E*S*T" (Birth Empowerment Support Team). Tracy supports pregnant women and their partners through the births of their babies, and, as a member of the birthing team, works with the partner or other family members to support and empower the woman during labor and the birth of her baby.

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